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A poll: Would you like to go back to school?

If I were to win the lottery, I think I’d like to travel for a year or two and then become a student.

There are lots of things I’d love to study, starting with creative writing, political economy, mass communications, art history, fine arts, literature, pottery, cabinetmaking, and chemistry.

Years ago I completed a vocational interest test to help me decide what kind of career I wanted. According to that test, I possessed an unusually broad range of interests. It said I had a high level of interest in enough things to pursue any career except those related to religion or sales. (Note: This test only measured interest, not aptitude. So I wouldn’t necessarily be good at any career.)

I went through a period after completing university where the last thing I would have wanted was to be a student again. It was such a relief to finally be caught up and not have all that reading and studying and writing to do at the end of the day. Having a job – and being done each day at 4:00 – seemed quite luxurious by comparison.

But with the exception of those two or three years, I’ve always thought that in an ideal world, being a professional student would be my ideal occupation. (We can, for the purposes of this fantasy exercise, ignore the fact that being a student doesn’t pay, which would be a significant strike against it in the real world.)

Most people I talk to seem to find the idea of going back to school either very appealing or very unappealing. What about you? Would you want to go to school? What would you study?

The polling booth is open for votes. If you’re reading from email or a feed reader, you’ll probably have to click on over to in order to vote.

24 comments to A poll: Would you like to go back to school?

  • I register one hearty YES!

  • Would love to do more postgraduate study in philosophy, political science and anthropology. However, I left university because of the politics, which seem so entrenched in academe. At all three universities I intended, it was the same.

    My first dozen undergraduate courses were done by correspondence. That’s how I’d want to follow any future study.

  • I voted no because I feel like I have so much education I don’t use right now. I have a university degree (creative writing & classics) and a Baking & Pastry Arts diploma from a fancy culinary school. Still, I have fantasies about getting and MA, but in reality, I think I’d rather do other things before going back to school.

  • I am back in school right now and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity. I wish it would never end!

  • I would, yes, and I would study photography. And then I would study speech pathology. And then I would study English lit. And then I would study French. And then I would learn to speak Icelandic.

    I also have a broad range of interests, which frustrated me when I had to take those career interest tests. I KNOW I’m interested in everything. If I could do two-year college courses in everything I’m interested in for the rest of my life, I would be very, very happy. Not interested in university though.

  • I voted no. I’m very interested in learning about many things, but the structure of school — the classroom setting, the reports and tests and projects, the group work, the working on someone else’s schedule — it’s not for me anymore. If money were no object, I’d be much more likely to spend hours and hours at the library reading up on all sorts of things, and maybe doing an apprenticeship or two with skilled labourers to learn new trades. I’d have conversations in coffee shops with smart people on new topics and I’d write blog posts and papers when the spirit moved me to capture my thoughts on a particular topic.

    But I wouldn’t want anyone grading me. No sir!

  • Julia

    In a nanosecond. I would get my PhD in cultural anthropology, studying displaced people. I might still do that.

  • Gillian

    I’ve been back a few times. I’m not sure I’d go again unless there were other changes in circumstance. It’s a hassle having to maintain a house and life at the same time.

  • Laura Payton

    I voted no, but I’ve already finished a master’s degree. And I’m lucky that my job lets me research and write about almost anything that I think people would find interesting or news-worthy. I would like to take a photography course and some cooking classes, but I don’t really consider those “school” since they would be as hobby courses, just for fun.

  • I loved school so much I became a teacher. I jump at the chances to take courses and workshops whenever possible.

  • Malva

    I’d do the Heritage Carpentry course offered by Algonquin in Perth.

  • There are lots of ways to learn things these days besides going to school. So, while I consider myself a perpetual student, I would NOT want to go to school.

  • I’d definitely do the school thing. If I could aford it I’d be doing that right now. What I’d take? Definitely something in the computer/IT field. I’ve been looking for excuses and ways to expand what I already know in that field. And hey, it can’t hurt my chances at being hired.

  • I want to take courses, but I don’t want to do another degree right now. I want to take things from all over the map. I could easily turn my interests into a masters in women’s studies or environmental science…but I don’t want to do any required courses.

  • I voted No, but Not Sure might have been a better answer for me. If I didn’t have young children then perhaps I would, but I find life is so busy as it is that I really don’t want to be studying during the evenings. I can barely keep up with life as it is.

    But if I had all the time in the world (money aside), then Maybe.

    Wishy washy, aren’t I?

  • MG

    If money were no object I would take random courses just for my interest. I’d love to learn to weld and take some robotics courses, I probably just sit in the back of some history and art courses and listen rather than actually register.

  • Nat

    I love school. I went back for Journalism…. I’d take art history and theatre and I could skip those courses that bore since I already have a degree… Maybe go back and do that phd in linguistics.

    I’d take the sommelier course and Algonquin and I’d do all those silly little continuing ed courses…

    (In this world it doesn’t matter if I pass or fail. It’s all about the learning.)

  • I’d have to really think about it. While I feel sometimes I’ve learned a lot, I know I can always learn more. I just have to decide what classes I want to take.

  • I would vote yes, even if I’ve been a (paid, TAs/scholarships) grad student for six years, and I am still one; it comes with its own pains, and like someone else said upstairs, university politics can be really nasty. But still, even if the money was so little, it’s an awesome privilege to be seating at home or wherever else reading about some of the stuff you love the most for a living. If you are not searching for a university job afterwards you can skip most of the politics without much trouble I would say, so that would be an ideal situation.

  • Em

    Having just finished an MA, I don’t want to go back right -NOW – at least not full time. If I had unlimited funds and it didn’t really matter if I got a degree, I’d just go to uni classes and audit the courses. I think that’s what it’s called, audit… Anyhow, either that, or I’d start taking some kind of music lessons (again) on the side, which I’m thinking of doing anyhow… we’ll see!

  • If I had infinite time and money, I would do a second undergraduate degree in a pure or applied science: climatic science, maybe, or engineering.

  • Deb

    I am with Mud Mama…I would do a course at a time so that I wouldn’t feel pressured. I would be doing it for interest’s sake not the piece of paper at the end. Photography would be my first course. Now that I think about it, maybe I will go and find a course to do..Thanks.

  • Gets in the way of life; money may be no object, but time certainly is. Also the institutionalized aspect that Lynn mentioned. I got my criminology degree and booted out of there as fast as I could.

    I’ve thought many times about getting a degree in civil engineering or urban somethingorother, but the idea that I’d have to put a bunch of professors in charge of my schedule (course time, plus homework, projects and exams) for years on end is the ultimate turn-off.

    – RG>

  • jacqui

    I voted yes and in fact I’m halfway through my BA in Women’s Studies. I served a four year apprenticeship out of high-school and I’m a Tool & Die Maker. Now thirty years out of school I’m finally working on a degree. I work full-time and go to school in the evenings. I’m doing this because I want to, not because I need to. This keeps it enjoyable for me.